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Human Rights Education: What is it and why is it important?

Learn more about why the Center’s primary mission is education.

Welcome to our first blog on the new site!  Please check back regularly for more posts. 

Based on the idea that human dignity is inherent to all people, the Wassmuth Center’s mission is “to promote human dignity and diversity through education and to foster individual responsibility to work for peace and justice.”  

What is human rights education and why is it important?  First, let’s start with what it is.  According to the UN Declaration on Human Rights Education in 2011, “human rights education is all learning that develops the knowledge, skills, and values of human rights.  Education about human rights…education through human rights, and education for human rights.”

Why is human rights education important? 

We hear the term “human rights” often, but actual “human rights literacy” is not widespread in the United States. Some students or researchers actively learn about human rights in a university or professional setting, but most people receive no education, formally or informally, about human rights. 

When Americans think about their “rights”, they are usually referring to civil and political rights defined in the US Bill of Rights, which includes freedom of assembly, freedom of worship, and the right to a fair trial. Few, however, realize that the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UHDR) also addresses and guarantees social, economic, and cultural rights such as health care, housing, or a living wage. When people are not aware of their rights, it is easier to have them abused and not have the language or framework to advocate for their rights.

There is a growing consensus around the world that human rights education is essential because it contributes to the building of free, just, and peaceful societies. The Wassmuth Center for Human Rights works to educate for a better tomorrow.

Throughout the Idaho Anne Frank Human Rights Memorial and the Philip E. Batt Education Building, you will see a variety of quotes, images, and art that represent a breadth of perspectives, lived experiences and eras that invite us to reflect on what it means to be human and what kind of world we want to create with our words and actions.

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©2024 The Wassmuth Center for Human Rights | All rights reserved | Website by 116 & West